FTMs in their own words: The Term “Lesbian”

December 31, 2012

dirty-words

from a F2T transgender forum:

Before I properly realised I was trans I knew I liked girls, yet the term lesbian didn’t seem right. I couldn’t stand the word. It felt like it was associated with being a girl and I think subconsciously this is why I hated it so much. I always much preferred the word gay when saying that I liked girls. I now know that I’m bisexual but a bisexual male.

My question is, before you realised you were trans, did the term lesbian to describe your sexual orientation feel extremely wrong or is this just me?

Joey

Nope, I never used it because a lesbian is a woman who loves women. I never was a woman so it never applied. I’m just a vanilla straight guy.

Yeah, the term “lesbian” didn’t work for me eitiher, and I really disliked being called “butch lesbian.” I didn’t know why at the time, since I like females and I like most lesbians, but I just never quite fit into the culture. Now I know it’s because I am male, not a lesbian.

Same, I was always ‘gay’ and never ‘lesbian’. it just makes me cringe.

I thought it was somewhat funny that for so long in school people chose to label me lesbian over straight female, when it’s even further off the mark.  Actually a gay male.  I gravitated toward that label before it fully made sense (before I heard of trans).

I clearly remember my best friend asking if I was lesbian, back in the fourth grade, which outraged me…but I had no idea why. I’ve always stayed away from using the word, and now even though I’m dating a boy and happen to be one (though biology prefers to disagree with me), I don’t really think about my orientation, though I suppose I do have a preference for…feminine persons. It’s just a crude word imho. I actually got in trouble with the teacher for saying it while adamantly denying any homosexuality to this friend of mine. To this day I swear I didn’t love her, but a part of me isn’t so sure about that.

hmm my mom said I could be a manly lesbian, but it didnt felt right either,the point was it wasnt because I was attracted to girls I felt this way, or because I was boyish, it where because I didnt felt like a girl at all..

Since I do still present female in most situations (basically to everyone who actually knows me and deals with me consistently, although I deal with strangers in male mode– weird, I know), most people seem to assume I’m a lesbian.  I don’t like the word, even beyond the fact that it’s a female word.  To me, it just has a lot of negative connotations attached to it and I won’t even use it for my friends who are actually lesbians.  I call them gay.

And I’m not even attracted to women– I’m an asexual who’s sometimes romantically attracted to men, but I don’t usually discuss my sexual orientation with anyone.  It just makes it that much more annoying, though, when people think I’m a lesbian.

Never liked to use the word ‘lesbian’, either, even if I at some point used to mostly like girls. It just didn’t feel right. Even attending ‘Girls Only’ -parties I always felt I didn’t belong to that category. (And how stupid was I to not realize what that was about, before?  ) I like the term gay, since I’m in the middle of genders and usually like people that are in the middle/outside, too. Or just pansexual or something.

same. when i first came out i just said i liked girls. i never said the words i am a lesbian, in the same sentence.

There was a time where I identified as a butch lesbian, though it didn’t feel right because I’ve always wanted to literally be the “man” in the relationship.  Before I discovered anything about transitioning, I labeled myself as such because I felt that was the closest thing to being transgender at the time. Then again, identifying as a lesbian didn’t feel right to me either since technically I have never dated a female (outside of the internet).

I struggled a lot with the term “lesbian.” When I was trying to see if I could live as one as opposed to transition, it was a constant thing. I would try to say “I’m a lesbian” if the topic came up in a conversation, but it always sort of made me retreat because, yeah, it did imply I was a woman. I used “gay”, but that didn’t work either, since, well, I’m not. “Queer” was sort of the last attempt, since it made no implication about my gender, but by that time I was pretty set on the fact that there was no way I could live as female. Funnily enough, now that I’m farther along, when I talk about my first experience coming out (I came out about liking women before I came out as trans), I actually use the phrase “coming out as ‘lesbian'” with lesbian in scare quotes.  I would never ever use it to describe myself, but at the time, since I was trying to be female that was the message I was sending to the world whether that was the truth about me or not.

I hated it!  But I couldn’t really figure out wihy it bothered me until, I realized I  was trans.  I did yell at a friend who kept calling me one because she thought it was funny how irritated I’d get.

This is me exactly. Well minus trying to use “Queer”, I instead either avoided all terms or just say “I like girls”. Generally though I just tried not to talk about myself. Even just thinking of the word “lesbian” feels awkward to me.

I’m a gay man, and have always liked men, so the term lesbian never applied to me.  However, early in transition I was mistaken for a butch lesbian, and lesbians came out of the woodwork to try and date me. Um, NO.  Thank goodness that was a relatively short-lived phase.  I was kind of creeped out by women coming on to me and touching me.

I’m sure my friends think I am a lesbian, and I have told a few that I am pansexual but ever since I was little I have been aware that I am a guy in a female body. A gay guy. So the idea of being lesbian kind of repels me. However, people still think I fancy women because of how much I rage about narrow minded hetero men (no offence intended to anyone).

I relate to this. Also felt like some kind of voyeur or spy when females would undress in front of me (like in locker room).

LOL I know that feeling.

I would hide from everyone in the locker room because I felt like a creep- ended up saying “screw this” and looked for ways to just avoid those kinds of situations altogether

This. I would leave the locker room and change in a bathroom stall.

I always wanted to be “the man” too, I even had a girl dump me because I was “too butch” for her.

I gave up on dating women for awhile, because I’ve just always fell for the straight girls. I went to an all female college for a year, where there were tons of lesbians, and you know what? out of all those lesbians dying to have sex with each other, I had to fall  for the one straight girl there. I think I am still sort of in love with two of my best female friends from high school, but of course, they’re straight. Though they were really sweet and always let me be “the man” in our friendship. It was basically dating, just without sex.

I think I just never had that emotional connection with lesbians needed to actually date one (without being too manly for her), where I seem to have that with straight girls.

i always used to call myself gay too. i just couldn’t call myself a lesbian. whenever i tried it made me cringe. i used to tell my friends that i felt like a gay man that likes girls trapped in a girl’s body. And this was long before i even knew what genderqueer was, let alone trans* and especially what it meant to be FTM. i never really understood where that description had come from until i started questioning my gender. then suddenly it made more sense, to me anyways, than any word or phrase i’d ever used to describe myself before. it still does. anyways, yea, i get you. lol.

I tried being a lesbian once. It didn’t work.

And by that, I tried to pretend I was just a really, really, really butch woman for a girl I was interested in, as she was exclusively lesbian. In the end, we had to cut it off because I couldn’t pretend I was a woman anymore. It really sucked because I really liked her, but you can’t help who you’re attracted to, so…. -Shrug.-

I definitely know how you feel, guys. My attraction to girls never felt gay: it just felt like how a regular hetero guy should feel about women, and the term “lesbian” always felt really wrong because of that. Likewise, I feel really gay when I catch myself looking at men.

It has never been a word I identified with… I don’t mind being called, butch, boi, dyke, queer or trans – I am gender-flexible with my pronouns, though I prefer sir over ma’am…. but the term “lesbian” has never felt right to me… I think I kind of shocked some of the women at Church when I shared that – it never occurred to some of them that not identifying as a “lesbian” was an option.

For a long time I was confused and uncomfortable being attracted to girls. Being gay (I also couldn’t say lesbian) doesn’t bothered me, just the fact that I was born a girl.

garbage pail kids- lesbian

44 Responses to “FTMs in their own words: The Term “Lesbian””

  1. radicalwoman Says:

    The absolute refusal to analyze why they may not like the term “lesbian” is very sad.
    I mean, it should be obvious, right?
    I never heard the word “lesbian” in any context apart from it being an insult until I was in my 20s.

  2. Chazz Says:

    Okay…. I read this F2T’s machinations three times. The last time aloud to myself. I swear this is what came out of my mouth:

    I know a ditty nutty as a fruitcake
    Goofy as a goon and silly as a loon
    Some call it pretty,
    others call it crazy
    But they all sing this tune:

    Mairzy doats and dozy doats
    And liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?
    Yes! Mairzy doats and dozy doats
    and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you?

    Is this me channeling trans?

  3. Beth Says:

    To this day most people say lesbian or dyke like it’s a terrifying thing. I say, fuck ’em. I’m not really that fussed with FtT’s. I seem to think of them as less of a threat, even if some of them are taking testosterone. I don’t care if they see themselves as gay men or straight men. Female homosexual means same sex attraction, doesn’t specify gender.

    I find it weird that they say they are straight men that want to date straight women and seem kinda upset by the fact that straight women don’t want to date them. Maybe because straight women like penis? It’s near insane double think. At least they haven’t made a term ala The Cotton Ceiling.

  4. weirdward Says:

    I wonder if this is the sort of stuff these young women say to their gender therapists? It’s so obvious that what many of them are battling is internalised self-hatred for being female and lesbian; combined with a lack of lesbian community, visible lesbian role models and negative representations of lesbians in mainstream society, when they are seen at all (which is rarely).

    The feeling of not fitting into lesbian spaces even when you’re a lesbian is a pretty common reaction, especially when first trying to come out and find a compatible community for support, friendship etc. It doesn’t help that many lesbian communities (still!) have so little visibility they’re difficult to find, or that lesbians are often distrustful of newcomers due to lesbian spaces frequently being the targets of fetishistic invasions from straight women and various other sexual tourists.

    The barely contained disgust some of them have about lesbian sexuality is almost blackly funny. What lovely allies we have swimming around in the toxic lgbtqwtf soup.

    Also, jesus, they’re not special for being women who want to be men. Lots of women feel that way who have internalised a sense of female inferiority. I have a friend who is straight, outwardly completely conforming genderwise, knows nothing much about feminist politics or all this transgender craziness, but she works in IT which is a male dominated industry. One day she told me that she wished she’d been born male because she feels like she has the ‘wrong package’ for her job. To which I replied, society has to change, not you. And, yanno, she agreed because at least she could see that her feelings were being influenced by the social and cultural environment in which she found herself, not some innate gender identity thing in her head.

    • sylvie Says:

      Great comment re internalised self-hatred. Many of the forum comments have a high WTF factor.

      “I wonder if this is the sort of stuff these young women say to their gender therapists?” – I don’t know however I doubt it?

      “they’re not special for being women who want to be men.”

      I wonder whether the need to be special is part of the underlying issue. Some things in the Gender Variant Childhood survey GM posted suggest so.

      “And, yanno, she agreed because at least she could see that her feelings were being influenced by the social and cultural environment in which she found herself, not some innate gender identity thing in her head.”

      I am also a woman in IT – and yes there is so much of the social and cultural environment you need to be able to block out, because it’s simply not possible to change without a wider change in society. I’ve found govt worse than private sector.

      The last time I worked with another woman was 6 months ago, before that I can’t recall when. If women do enter IT, they almost never end up in the male-dominated technical areas (in this country, not sure about others?).

      Early on I observed the low numbers were partly due to the fact that (‘some’) managers never hire women. They ‘might’ interview female candidates to tick the right HR boxes, but they will never hire one. Though it might seem like it, that is not an exaggeration or misrepresentation of what really happens.

      • weirdward Says:

        I think wanting to be special, combined with self-hatred and wanting to escape slave-caste female status probably all play into it. After all, girls are routinely ignored, told they don’t matter, that they’re not good for anything other than being sex objects, and any achievement that they do manage to make is still ignored, or else attributed to the nearest male relative (she did it because her husband/father/teacher/coach/whoever was so great and supportive).

        Yeah, my friend is the same – there’s only one other woman who works for her company, and she works in a different department, so she’s just surrounded by guys 24/7. I think she deals with all the sexism by just being in denial about it a lot of the time – actually I know a lot of professional women (especially the younger ones) who seem to use that as the survival method of choice. Oh no, I’ve never been discriminated against because I’m a woman. Yeah right.

        Mind you, I work in a career that has more women in general, but I still work with 4-5 guys and zero women, and I share an office with all guys as well. There was a position that came up recently and I don’t think there were even any female candidates who they bothered to interview for it. There was just this unspoken and agreed assumption that they were going to hire a guy.

      • Adrian Says:

        Another woman in IT here (I’m a programmer, lately there seems to be more women, but interestingly most of them are foreign) and while I’m lucky to have some women on my team finally, coming up and all through school there was definitely a need to be “okay with” all the various sexist talk that constantly goes on. There’s pressure to be “one of the guys.” Now, I don’t have too much problem with generic crude humor if it’s going both ways, but over the long term it never does, does it? But bring it up as a problem and suddenly I’m “political” or “radical” or just “why so serious?” It’s like huge portions of the internet – everyone is laughing, everyone is getting along, commenting on the news or whatever it is, but then bam! always with the misogyny leaping out and comments about “make me a sandwich” and commentary on women’s weight, talking about how at the end of the world, well, we know what happens to the women amirite? Perhaps the saddest part is that probably some of the horrible comments come from other WOMEN who are trying to fit in and hide and prove they can “take a joke” (I know, because I’ve been there, shameful as that is to me now).

        I can certainly understand the idea of “things would have been so much easier in so many ways had I only been born a boy” and getting wistful after that. But I realize that this is hardly unique to me and I realize that I cannot become male, nor do I really want to – as you say, I want society to change.

        It is not possible to really change sex, just as it is not possible to change race, and there is no “born in the wrong body.” I can sort of understand some people’s desperation to get plastic surgery to try to pretend and hide better, but when they start claiming to actually BE the other sex afterwards is when they lose me completely, either direction.

      • weirdward Says:

        This all puts me in mind of a funny IT story, which is even kinda related to the topic. One night this same friend who works in IT invited me out for drinks – turned out there were quite a few of her workmates there as well. One of them kept cracking onto me despite me giving off constant ‘go away’ signals, and it got tiresome, so when he asked me what I did I launched into a long and detailed explanation of all of my (rather impressive, if I do say so myself) professional qualifications, accomplishments, awards, future career ambitions – and the longer I went on the more the smile on his greasy little face fell, until finally right at the end, ‘oh yeah, by the way, I’m a lesbian’.

        His expression was hilarious. I would have liked to take a picture of it and blow it up and stick it on billboards throughout the nation with a slogan like, ‘the power of lesbians’ or something.

        No way I’d ever give up the word lesbian. It rocks!

      • Em Says:

        “I wonder whether the need to be special is part of the underlying issue.”

        Bingo. An extraordinary need to be special is one of the defining symptoms of unhealthy narcissism, and unhealthy narcissism is one of the most common chacteristics of X2T. That’s why you hear so many people complaining about the self-centeredness of X2T, and narcissistic rage is the source of the howls of protest you hear when their jendah dentification is questioned.

        Interestingly enough, a certain percentage of sadomasochists also howl in protest when challenged on their obviously outre’ identifications (e.g., as slaves or masters). It’s not surprising that there’s a fair degree of overlap in their responses, as a great many M2T, anyway, are sadomasochists as well. (Sheila Jeffreys, among others, has discussed this.)

      • Mikhail Ramendik Says:

        “An extraordinary need to be special is one of the defining symptoms of unhealthy narcissism, and unhealthy narcissism is one of the most common chacteristics of X2T”

        Thanks Em, now I know why I tend to “the trans side”, being cis myself. It also might motivate some of the other people called “nice little allies” here.

        The need to “be special”, the need for an INDIVIDUAL identity, is a basic human need. And denial of it is a characteristic of communists and similar groupthink/drone ideologists. Unfortunately including *some* feminists and *some* lesbians. I have not yet seen a single anti-trans statement that did not reek of groupthink like a drunk reeks of alcohol.

        The bad thing about the “trans side” is that it is by no means free of groupthink either, with activists taking some issue and making bold pronouncements in the name of “all trans people”. (Like the Moore debacle). Or even worse, the “cotton ceiling” idiocy, where the extremely individual matter of sexual preference (“orientation” is little more than a general hint at preferences of any particular person) is made into senseless slogans. And the entire idea of fighting for entry into some kind of spaces does not elicit my sympathy either, because “discrimination” in non-state non-commercial spaces is simply hogwash, freedom of association trumps it any day, and anyone should be able to define the space their own with whatever exclusions they want (whether it’s a Michfest or a Whitefest, and no I would not attend a Whitefest even though I’m white, but they should be free to hold one).

        But at least *some* trans people, even some trans activists, don’t succumb to groupthink. (Michfest might be a good litmus test, “I don’t give a …” – sane trans person). The other side appears to consist of it near-entirely, including the worst kind, directly coopting someone onto a group they do not want. “Oh you’re Lesbian/Gay/whatever because WE SAY SO”. And Trans are “stealing non-feminine women” – this kind of statement nullifies the choice each of these people makes individually.

        I sign this with my real name. Have at it. (Of course this is MY personal opinion unrelated to any entity I might be a member of by any means – that’s how individualism works after all).

    • 1899fcbarcelona Says:

      I wish you could talk some sense into my cousin. She’s taking steps to transition.

  5. K Says:

    “My attraction to girls never felt gay: it just felt like how a regular hetero guy should feel about women…”

    Eeeeeeesh. That’s pretty creepy.

  6. KittyBarber Says:

    Yes. Couldn’t say the word “Lesbian” if her mouth was full of one. Hardly new. Just another justification for cowardice.

  7. Bev Jo Says:

    You’re so right, Kitty — “cowardice.” And yes, weirdward — “toxic lgbtqwtf soup.”

    Beth, of course these self-hating women are less of a threat than men, but I AM “fussed” by them because they are part of the trans cult who are trying to destroy our last women-only space but insisting they can still come. Not as bad as men, but their presence brings harassment on women who say no to obeying male-identified “feminine” standards. Their crap invades our community so that if you refuse to look like a barbie doll, you get called “boi” or other insults. And I don’t think it’s necessarily about het women wanting a penis since that only became popular when the mainstream media countered feminism by teaching women to want to be fucked. Most het women just go along with the het cult con to fit in, and these women who want to be men can’t provide the privilege of “normality” and family, friend, culture acceptance, or even money that real men give.

  8. Bev Jo Says:

    Part of this sounds like what many women in the Seventies said in their coming out stories just as they were finding feminism, to explain why they were terrified to identify as a Lesbian until the support of feminist politics. And it does explain why so many women prefer “queer” since that identity has more privilege because it includes men. Lesbian has the least privilege because women who love women are the bottom of the heap.

    The rest of this sounds like female-hating het women who are obsessed with gay men and think they’ve found a way to get access to them.

    Either way, I’m done feeling sympathetic. We can share information in our writing online, but our time and lives are limited. Bad enough that most women are devoted to men to hate them, and even Lesbians rescue and help everyone instead of other Lesbian. Someone has to make other Lesbians and women a priority. So why not us?

    • Beth Says:

      I’m with you there. Some do sound like yaoi fangirls. Gay men arrrreee soooo hawt etc. I wonder if any of them have ever actually met a gay man.

      I’m not really comfortable with FtT in female spaces/communities either. Some of them seem to think being a man means being an aggressive monster, but that’s just my experience with the few I’ve met IRL. If FtT’s dislike lesbians why are they part of the LG? I do think heterosexual women like penis and men in general. Although most women feel strong bonds of affection towards each other.

      My experience with my local lesbian community sucked. I was treated like a non-person by most of them. I don’t have short hair, tattoos, facial piercings or a body like P!nk which seems to be what all the lesbians my age have or are attracted to. Not that I’m without fault. I’m kind of nerdy and drink way too much which often ends badly.

      • weirdward Says:

        Yes, too much yaoi and slash fiction. Also this weird obsession with imagining sex with others from the perspective of being a man…well, maybe not so weird, since I guess in our current culture ‘having sex’ as a woman basically means you should be okay with being raped all the time.

        I’ve had the same experiences with FtTs re taking on aggressive woman-hating personalities because they want so much to be male. I actually pretty much left a lesbian social group because of it. Bad enough that the FtTs were doing it, but also effing crazy that their behaviour was being supported and enabled by other lesbians. Yeah, support the abusers to become more abusive. That will end well.

      • J4K3 Says:

        FtT first of all is I think not the term you’re looking for. If you’re transitioning to trans, there’s something wrong there. I think the topic is about FtMs, who are transitioning to the male sex so that their body sex matches their brain sex.

        Second, I have no idea where any of you saying FtMs hate lesbians come from. I don’t hate lesbians. The issue that we have with being called lesbians is that we are not lesbians. That is all. While some may hate lesbians, that is not an attribute that all of us share.

        The ones that sound like yaoi fangirls generally are just that. They do not represent those who are actually trans. Trans men, who experience dissonance with their female body parts because their brain sex is male, do not want to be male because “yum gay guys r so hotttt!!!1!”, they are male and the fact that they do not have a penis is one of the sources of what is called dysphoria. Likewise, straight trans men do not want to be male because being homosexual is icky. If they are transitioning for these reasons there is a problem there and they are not trans.

      • Beth Says:

        @JK43.

        No, my terms are correct. You can not change to male if born a female. It is a scientific impossibility.

        If I were to examine a rape kit done on a post-op MtT, I would not find cervical cells in the neo ‘vagina’. I would not find vaginal cells….I would find penile tissue. If I looked at a neo ‘penis’, I’d find arm tissue. If someone were to commit a crime, I’d identify them as male or female (or intersex) through the potential DNA profile left behind.

        If I find a skeleton, I will notice female bones or male bones. If I found a male skeleton with a dress on would that make them transsexual, transgender or transvestite? Irrelevant, I will notice their sex chromosomes under a microscope and their family and community can state trans status. Does not change the fact that I found a male skeleton.

        In other words, science is very important.

        Also, why is it anytime someone gets trans critical there is always a ‘but they’re not real trans’ argument thrown in?

    • Adrian Says:

      @J4K3 – So what, exactly, in concrete terms, does a “male brain” involve? More to the point, I want to know what a “female brain” supposedly involves, because to this day I have never found anyone able to describe just what it is.

      Short version – I don’t believe in any of it. The entire “born in the wrong body” thing, I’m not buying it.

      Essentially the claim is that a person born in physical body A can somehow “know” “what it must be like” to “think like” all the people born with physical body B. But given that they were actually NOT born with physical body B, how can they possibly know? It makes no more sense than people claiming that they’re really [some other ethnicity] “inside.”

      In order for people to say that they recognize that they supposedly think “like the other side” they have to have some concrete idea of just how that other side supposedly thinks, in order to see it in themselves. Problem is, that’s reifying the gender binary like nothing else, and it means people are thinking “ah, yes, women, they think like X Y and Z.” And it’s always, 100% of the time that I’ve heard it, full of stupid stereotypes. As a woman, on the low end of the gender hierarchy, I have a problem with that. However I think, it’s a valid example of a woman’s thinking. Even if that might actually match the stereotype of a “male brain.”

      Why should there be any need for a particular sort of thought process to “correlate” with a particular type of genitalia, to “match” or not? What does that even mean?

      • Anon Male Says:

        It’s neato how this is all about gender unless it’s all about sex unless it’s all about gender. What’s the difference? Well, both have to exist in order for the special people to yell at the bourgeois for mixing them up!

        Why does someone who believes in brain sex have a “gender blog?”

      • Beth Says:

        I couldn’t love your post any harder if I tried. Brain sex theory is horseshit and their latest new theory is epigenetics to prove brain sex. Basically saying that an epigenetic switch somehow gives them the opposite brain.
        So, in other words, a theory that’s not proven (no known ‘trans’ switch) to prove something that doesn’t exist.

        I like your theory so much. How do they know? Despite being bombarded with estrogen and testosterone naturally, they somehow ‘know’ what it means to be the other sex? Huh?

        The human body is different for both sexes. Pain sensation, bone development and muscle growth for starters. How could a FtT know what it felt like to be kicked in the balls? Would a MtT know what menstrual cramps felt like? No. Plus, females have about twice as many pain receptors. The pain would be totally different. The science denialism that occurs for this to somehow make sense is just madness.

  9. mosling Says:

    I never cared for the word ‘lesbian’ just as a word- kind of unpleasantly sibilant; even the origin (Lesbos? Because of Sappho?) seems odd and unrelated to modern life. I’ve always preferred ‘gay girl,’ the sort of jazz-agey NYC term, or just the technically accurate ‘homosexual female.’ When I realized I liked girls, in high school in the late 80’s, the ‘L word’ itself was much harder to deal with than the idea- the only thing I associated with ‘lesbianism’ was the icky title ‘Rubyfruit Jungle.’

  10. Bev Jo Says:

    I can’t help but believe that not liking the word “Lesbian” is also about not wanting to identify so openly as a Lesbian. “Gay girl” and “homosexual” female” are demeaning and male-identified. I would never use those terms. And how is so identifying through and with gay men with “homosexual female” “technically accurate”? We have nothing in common with gay men other than being oppressed for not being het. They have tremendous male privilege and most hate Lesbians and women.

    Lesbian is part of our history that reflects our culture and decades of Lesbian Feminism.

    The fact that so many women use “queer” instead of “Lesbian” shows how out and threatening Lesbian is as an identity. It is direct and proud, and there is no mistaking it.

    Over the years, I’ve seen the more mainstream and self-hating, lesbophobic and Lesbian-hating women say they don’t like the word Lesbian. One Lesbian even explained it that she was “more suburban.”

    I’ve been relieved to see more Lesbian being proud enough to use it for groups and themselves.

    “Lesbian” is a threat to men, and challenges all of patriarchy. What about that even scarier and more proud word, “Dyke?”

    • mosling Says:

      I am a female who has a homosexual attraction to other females, so that seems accurate to me! I’ve always used ‘dyke’ for myself more often than lesbian, but really, love between women has existed long before either of those tems- (‘queer’ I find unbearable! not as a word but for what it’s come to mean) I genuinely don’t like the sound of the word ‘lesbian,’ sorry! I still use it and often.

    • mosling Says:

      (& I like the word ‘Sapphist’ but still, my romantic interests named after one person from antiquity?)

  11. FeistyAmazon Says:

    When I came out, and I was a hardcore tomboy who NEVER fit in with feminine roles, I did not like the word “Lesbian” because I was called “Lezzie” in school for liking to kiss girls on the head. When I was in an all girls school it was ok, but once I went to mixed sex schools, it was not.

    So, the Lesbian community at the time was reclaiming the word “Dyke”. Since nobody ever called me a Dyke derogatorily, I claimed the word fully. It still fits for me better than Lesbian in that I’m an out loud and proud Butch Dyke….but back then there WERE strong Lesbian communities, so I began to take that term on too.

    In certain communities, women were differentiating between Dyke and Lesbian, but they are REALLY the same term for the same thing…..so that’s bullshit to separate the two. Both mean women loving women…Dyke just happens to seem more outlaw, in your face, harsher and more associated with Butches…some Femme types won’t use the word for themselves at all, others like it who are more out and in your face. I think the ‘passing’ types don’t like Dyke at all..the more in your face types, do….in any way, it fits me.

    But ‘gay’ is so generic, so bland, so associated with ‘gay male’ that those Lesbians who use it tend to want to identify more with the gay male community and less with the politicized Lesbian one. Sometimes the politics and the fences created have been our own undoing. I am all for accepting ALL our Lesbian/Dyke Sisters(born female of course), and bringing them ALL into the fold, so NONE feel left out.

    This includes those questioning their ‘genders’ who feel too Butch, too ‘manly’ to be considered Lesbian…they have a place too, and always have had. Though I’m not much for the Stone Butch phenomena, it mostly seeming to me to be a denial of one’s FEMALE body and recieving female pleasure IN that female body, I know many Butch/nonfeminine females ect. feel distanced from their female bodies, because like me, they have never been feminine, never ‘fit into’ female roles, and were told ‘you’re a nasty lesbian/dyke’ ‘you just want to be a man’, ‘you’re a freak and a weirdo’ ect. ect. ect….so FOR THEM to identify as male, can have as much to do with their Lesbianism as it does with their identification with bio males.

    It’s also the ‘gendering’ from such a young age with the toys, the clothes, the department stores, the religions, the media, the schools, the parents, the videos, the movies, the t.v. shows etc, in other words the BRAINWASHING of what things girls are allowed to do(very proscribed generally, either in the domestic or sexual sphere or caretaking of others) and what things boys are allowed to (go on adventures, conquer the world, go out into space, be President of the United States, ect. ect.).

    The same goes for little boys. Except add sexism for little girls. And little boys get ‘beat up’ for being too feminine by other boys. Us little tomboy girls, if we can fight, can find a grudging respect, SOMETIMES from boys, but still derision and shaming from the more feminine girls. The same can be said, like the IT women mentioned above. I have experienced ALL of what they speak of in the nontraditional construction trades. They don’t want us around, and will find ways to get us out! Sometimes explicitly, sometimes subtly. And not to include us. This goes back to the playground of ‘gender conformity’ and roles learned from childhood that from children to adults, impose on each other.

    If either sex DOES NOT CONFORM to their ‘gender roles’ then all kinds of pressure are put on them TO COMPLY. And the basis of MUCH of that fear is that the children will end up homosexual. The worst thing anybody could be. In my mind being a rapist, murderer, serial killer, thief(like Bernie Maddow stealing billions) ect is much much worse a thing someone could be than homosexual. But the Pope makes homosexuality equivalent to any of the horrible aforementioned criminals. And too many people believe in these conservative woman hating and homosexual hating religions. Including homosexuals and Lesbians themselves.

    SO it’s not surprising these teen or 20 somethings HATE the term Lesbian. It’s not used as a term of pride. There are no longer STRONG AND POWERFUL Lesbian communities, bookstores, coffeeshops, businesses of all types. Oh sure, a few, but not what we once had. Our own printing presses, so many things we’ve had and lost! AND most of all OUR OWN SPACES which weren’t gate crashed.

    And what this woman said above: “I think wanting to be special, combined with self-hatred and wanting to escape slave-caste female status probably all play into it. After all, girls are routinely ignored, told they don’t matter, that they’re not good for anything other than being sex objects, and any achievement that they do manage to make is still ignored, or else attributed to the nearest male relative ”

    Yes, slave-caste is a big reason I wanted to escape femaleness as a kid, and wanted so desperately to be a boy. Not till I came out into a strong Lesbian community did I LEARN TO FEEL PRIDE IN MY FEMALENESS! When I saw other Butches and met and talked to them, women who LOOKED LIKE ME, had some similar proclivities and sensibilities, but WERE STILL PROUD TO BE FEMALE! Going to my first Lesbian Conference, of ALL Lesbians..no men, no trans! And my first Lesbian concert. (Meg Christian). It TAUGHT me Lesbian pride, and power! But we don’t have anything focussed on just dykes anymore, OR the remaining social institutions. They have all either been coopted or failed….

    So I mourn for these fucked up kids who think they are ‘men’ either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’, but they aren’t either…and they HATE Lesbians, who REMIND them of their femaleness…that they are trying so hard to run away from. We gotta keep on keeping on…and reach out to those who would hear our message….and be compassionate WITHOUT being codependent or compromising boundaries we feel strongly about. We have given away too much already.
    -In Sisterhood,
    -FeistyAmazon

  12. Cynthia Says:

    A look at the intersex population demonstrates to me the validity of the brain sex theory.
    I have a friend I will call Molly. Molly is intersexed. Molly at one time looked like a boy. She was raised as a boy and was a man with a proper mans job in mans society. The entire time she was misserable and insisted she was a woman and something was very wrong. She was suicidal and ready to check out. Many nights she called me and we would back her away from the precipice.
    Eventually the ovaries in her body started to act up. There was a medical emergency, she went to the hospital. Durring her stay at the hospital it was discovered that she had not only a pair of normal looking but non functional testicles, but inside unseen she also had a pair of ovaries.
    Well long story short she took that as a sign and she transitioned. Since she has had her surgeries and socialy switched gender she had become vibrant and productive. She doesn’t call at midnight in a total panic. She is engaged to a nice guy and she absolutely glows now.

    Molly is proof to me that brain sex is real. Obviously there is more to it than socializing. Molly was raised male in a male dominated society and all that comes with for men. Yet she had to transition to survive.
    Even if it is all bullshit, doesn’t the fact that some people like Molly are useless pretransition and they become productive count for anything?

    • GallusMag Says:

      He was a grown man in a “man’s job” and then his secret ovaries started to “act up”? This sounds like a typical crossdresser fantasy as seen iterated on many autogynephillic sites. But let’s play along. What does being intersex – a grown man “with a proper man’s job in man’s society” discovering he has ovarian tissue in tandem to penis and testicles as you propose- have to do with happiness in inhabiting a social sex-role? Plenty of men and women are unhappy in their social sex role. Including men and women who have various intersex anomalies. Your assertion that reproductive biology dictates one’s happiness in a cultural sex-role is extremely offensive to all females, who are raised in the subordinate role in the sex-role hierarchy based on our reproductive sex.

      You yourself are a man with no intersex biology whatsoever who chooses to utilize your male privilege to mimic stereotypical sex-role behaviors that are inflicted on females under threat of violence because you have decided that such a role would be enjoyable to you. If your imaginary friend “molly” is proof to you that “brain sex” or “biologically innate sex role” is related to reproductive anatomy, wouldn’t your example- as a man with no intersex anatomy whatsoever who chooses to pursue the sex-role inflicted on females for his pleasure- DISPROVE the “brain sex-role” theory? What you’ve offered here is a complete contradiction.

      But you’ve embeded your contradictory theory in an EMOTIONAL TESTIMONY. In other words, you’ve attached your wholly contradictory scientific theory to a story. And that story says “hey. we’re all real decent people here. and we all want people to be happy and fulfilled. and by believing this theory you support a person being super happy, after formerly being super sad. And since the theory and the story are attached, if you disagree with the theory you disagree with a person being super happy.” Which is unfair. And manipulative. People can agree to be supportive that a person who was formerly suicidal and really messed up is now doing better without agreeing that sexism, and racism, and economic class are “natural”, innate and biological instead of socially constructed to enforce social hierarchies.

      We can say “Gosh. Glad your friend feels better even though his imaginary (or actual) ovarian tissue has nothing whatsoever to do with his subsequent embrasure of social sex-based stereotypes.” Or “Glad your friend got sober by embracing straight-edge white pride and evangelical christianity although I don’t support that philosophy”.

      You ask “Even if it is all bullshit, doesn’t the fact that some people like Molly are useless pretransition and they become productive count for anything?” Of course it does. It counts for a formerly “useless” person becoming “productive” by embracing a belief system designed to oppress a class of people, in this case women

      • Adrian Says:

        Cannot love this comment enough…

        People upset with their required gender roles in society should be free to stop and behave differently, REGARDLESS of what is in their pants!!!

        If “Molly” is more productive now, great! But that doesn’t mean that people who have cosmetic surgeries to “fit in” to a rigid gender role because of some weird belief that their genitalia and behavior have to “match” (that’s the real craziness, IMHO) have actually changed sex. As I know you you know🙂

      • Smh Says:

        You are such a hateful person.

      • GallusMag Says:

        ? why is that.

      • Ashland Avenue Says:

        Oh, Gallus, you know why you’re “hateful”! It’s because you so clearly saw through the manipulative bullshit, and called this dude “Cynthia” out on it. Logic is their enemy. And they REALLY hate it when people (especially women!) drive right through their verbal acrobatics and fictitious scenarios. Ergo, you’re “hateful.” You know, same old, same old….

      • GallusMag Says:

        @AA- Oh my gosh it’s so hateful to explain that social sex stereotypes are harmful to women! What a hateful laydeee I am! ;P

      • river Says:

        Gallus you are really really really really really good.

      • GallusMag Says:

        @river- I’m a “hateful” person apparently!

    • Nobody Special Says:

      I see a glaring hole in this story. “Molly” had a pair of testicles AND a pair of ovaries? BULLSHIT! Since testicles and ovaries both originate from the same fetal tissue, it is impossible to have two of BOTH. One of each, possibly, but NOT two of each.

      This is the problem that I have with so many of these trannies who claim to be some sort of intersex… nine times out of ten, what they claim is simply not known to medical science.

      I swear, these guys read way too much bad tranny fiction.

      • Adrian Says:

        This. There are some cases where people have “proto” tissue of both organs (one went one way, one went the other way, both went halfway, whatever) and they do testing to figure out just what is going on, but usually it’s found out fairly early (at least by puberty when the kid is not menstruating or not ejaculating or whatever) but often as a baby because if things are that confused, often the genitalia are malformed and so with modern medicine they do scans.

        It’s a risk having those “proto” tissues because they’re not formed correctly and can go cancerous, so they are frequently removed. Sometimes that then means a need for external hormones.

        Either way though, the fact remains that (1) vast majority of intersex people aren’t trans*, and (2) even more vast VAST majority of trans* people aren’t intersex, and no, “brain sex” isn’t a thing.

        The ones I find the most eye-rolling are the M2T who claim to have been born intersexed and yet managed to father biokids before transitioning in middle age. It’s the usual trans* claim of brain sex used to justify a claim of intersex, surely. Though, as far as I know if you have malformed genitalia you can get an intersex label, even if it’s actually NOT a mystery what sex you “really” are when chromosome test and internal structures are looked at (so they have testes but a not quite normally formed very small penis, for example). That would not make someone “really a woman inside.” But people wear it like a badge, hey look Intersex!!! So I’m justified to be ‘really’ transsexual!!

        All I can say to them is, if you fathered biokids, you’re male. If you wanna wear a dress and rock the S-curves, party on with your bad self, but don’t go claiming to be “really a woman inside.”

      • anon male Says:

        I wonder why the “intersex” thing hasn’t caught on with ftms at all (as far as I’ve seen, anyway), though?

        I mean, obviously it takes someone male to be so crazy+entitled to blame their actions on bee stings and whatnot, but still?

        I’ve read ftms bragging about [potentially] having naturally high testosterone levels but that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

      • GallusMag Says:

        “rock the S curves” LMAO

      • GallusMag Says:

        @ anon male- it doesn’t seem used as much by the homosexual M2Ts who came out of the gay community either.

        “Brain sex-role” and other fake intersex conditions seem to be predominantly embraced by heterosexual male autogynophiles who came out of the fetishistic cross-dressing community. Perhaps a result of autogynephillic shame.

      • Beth Says:

        What Adrian said.

        I was reading another of Suzanne Moore’s articles (and the comments were pretty good. Some reasonable people) and one poster kept bringing up intersex as trans related. Saying 1 in 200 births has a genital malformation that has to be corrected and somehow that tied to what trans feel.

        Anyway, this poster kept saying stuff like “Google XY pregnancy! Chromosomal men can have babies” so I did.

        I found a paper done in 1997 that said that there had been 13 successful spontaneous pregnancies in XO chromosomal women (Turner’s syndrome) but none in XY.

        My basic understanding was these XY individuals may have had a malformation on the SRS gene and not expressed male characteristics.
        To get XY pregnant, they needed an egg donor, a lab technician and a whole lotta female hormones to suppress androgens. So, XY pregnancy seems to be bullshit to me in a way. But women use egg donors to have babies and we don’t really dismiss that.

        So, I feel iffy. It’s pregnancy but not fertility.


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